Atupele Muluzi: The rise and beginning of the end

People speak of Late Chakufwa Chihana and his AFORD party. What happened to Chihana politically and his AFORD after Bakili Muluzi had dangled the 2nd Vice Presidency carrot to him and asked him to join government post 1994 election? It was the beginning of the end of Chihana’s political muscle clout in Malawi. Cross a few borders to Zimbabwe and take a look at Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party. What has happened to Tsvangirai after Mugabe had lured him into becoming Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2013? He has been relegated to the second division of politics in Zimbabwe and has lost his spark. He no longer commands the same respect among Zimbabweans and he is and on the brink of oblivion from the political scene entirely.

Atupele: Agenda for Change

Atupele: Agenda for Change

Further up to the east of the continent, we have Raila Odinga, the so-called father of Democracy in Kenya. From the early 1990S, he was a thorn to the KANU-led government and single handedly carried the opposition…up until 2008 when he met Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe and the two foolishly hatched the plot to join their Govts as Prime Ministers. Today Odinga is fast becoming a walking relic of Kenyan politics. The youthful and vibrant Uhuru Kenyatta has craftily made him redundant and irrelevant. Heaven knows if Odinga will rise again and command the same authority as before.

The electorate can be fickle minded and punish self-fulfilling opportunistic and disingenuous politicians. The cases of Chihana, Tsvangirai and Odinga has just rang true in British politics. David Cameron’s conservatives have just won the recent elections with a majority. But the most interesting and perhaps sad story is that of Nick Clegg, the outgoing leader of the Liberal Democracts. Under his leadership, the Lib Dems did exceedingly well in the 2010 general elections and they held the political balance in the House of Commons. Nick Clegg became a household name and man of the moment. Lured by the opportunity to be in Government, the LibDems went into a coalition with the Conservatives, with Clegg as the Deputy Prime Minister. That was the beginning of the end of Nick Clegg. His LibDems would be absolutely bartered in the 2015 elections and Clegg would eventually resign in a matter of hours as leader, politically shattered and humiliated.

So what chances does Atupele Muluzi have of bucking the trend? Is the Malawian political landscape any different today from that of Chihana’s time or Kenya, Zimbabwe and the UK? Or rather, are today’s Malawians different from voters in other countries when it comes to holding their leaders to account? Do Malawians ever feel betrayed when leaders such as Atupele appear to abandon their principals in search of instant personal glory and short term self-fulfilling opportunities? Would they vote for Atupele Muluzi and his UDF in 2019 (assuming that by that time the party would still be in existence and he would like to stand as a presidential candidate)?

Towards the twilight years of late Prof Bingu wa Muthariaka’s rule, Atupele Muluzi was everything that a young leader must be. Under the banner of his now defunct Agenda for Change, he was a breath of fresh air and a beacon of hope to many Malawian youth who would be voting for the first time in the 2014 General Elections. He was brave, tenacious and hell bent on challenging the authoritarian rule of late Bingu. Together with CSO leaders, he rallied the masses and captured the nation’s imagination. He was admired by friends and foes alike. Terrified of the danger the young Muluzi posed to the DPP ruling regime, Bingu and his cohorts unleashed a carefully targeted anarchy to anyone who rocked their boat. Atupele and other leaders of CSOs were arrested, which ended with him being admitted at the Mwaiwathu hospital for tension related illnesses. It now appeared that he was unstoppable and a political force to reckon with. He went on to run a fine campaign, drawing tens of thousands of people to his rallies. The people dubbed him “ung’ono ung’ono” or “ukiti ukiti”. He was being compared to Obama. His youthfulness forced his opposing political parties to feature young presidential running mates. Despite this momentum, he went on to lose the elections and what happened next surprised many of his supporters.

Atupele and his UDF party went on to join the very same DPP government which had tortured him and many Malawians, with its political machinery intact, apart from that this time it was under the leadership of late Bingu’s brother, Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika.He shelved his Agenda for Change banner and was quick to be hug and smile with the young Mutharika and the DPP machinery. Today Atupele cuts a strangely muted, inconsequential, lame duck figure. He appears to have lost the fire in his belly. The “sweetness” of power has subdued him. He is no longer the people-centred, hope-oozing firebrand Young Turk of a few years ago. He doesn’t speak on crucial issues that Malawians are worried of, such as the ongoing daylight robbery of selling the Malawi Savings Bank and DPP’s impudence to use tax payers money to underwrite the banks loans, most of which are held by Mulli who happens to be a DPP stalwart.

As a final nail on the coffin, he has just moved his MPs in parliament to the government side, rendering them completely useless as an opposition block. To put it simply, Atupele and his UDF has been a disaster and a complete let down. His has been a failure of epic proportions, and only time will tell if he will rise again to command the same following and capture the nation’s respect, admiration and imagination as he once did. One wonders if this could be the beginning of the end of the so-called Muluzi dynasty.

Are Malawians about to witness a Chihana effect or Tsvangirai or Odinga moment? Let us all wait and see.

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40 thoughts on “Atupele Muluzi: The rise and beginning of the end”

  1. vilimumu says:

    UDF enroute to BLK to be hearded by soildier. mwana waababa waononga, wabetsa

  2. Paul Vida says:

    No single UDF supporter is happy with this bullshit. This is the END.

  3. amangwetu says:

    He is a hypocrite ….I only imagine those people who lost their lives in Mangochi just after elections for the sake of his name

  4. UDF MOTOMOTO says:

    am totaly frastrated with this dudu,kuganiza kwa ubwana sakanalitha kuyendetsa dziko.

  5. phwiyonaire says:

    Well written article, sadly- a rare occurence on nyasatime. The end of atupele and of udf indeed

  6. Koma kumeneko. kkkkkk Kutha ngati makatani chipani changa cha udf. Mayooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jivan says:

    UDF has lost if the is joining DPP then who will run UDF sorry

  8. LORENI says:

    May somebody but a casket for UDF

  9. alekekuba says:

    Well he may just rise up again. Remember he was a minister in PP gaffment(I miss Edward Chitsulo’s writtings). He came out to compete with Amayi and he had a sizeable following of fools. He (and his followers) will do it again.

    Chabvuta apa ndi umphawi. Zaka 5 zinachuluka kuti afike saizi yoyenda pansi.

  10. Denis Tembo says:

    Amayi ndi a bambo zitavuta zitatni MCP sidzalamuliranso dziko la Malawi,aNgwazi anapita ndizonse!!!Atupele Boma 2019,I know ndi atumbuka panyi panu FOTSEKI

  11. Says the truth to shame Devil says:


  12. welliho says:

    The problem is not Atupele but his father i bet Bakili is the one ill advising the young man the father still wishes he was actively involved in running the party and since he cannot he syphones his ill advise into the young Muluzi and he being fickle minded agrees to everything without filtering gibberish from beneficial tactics. As for MCP this is the right time to make hay go to Mangochi,Machinga, Zomba and Balaka and all UDF strongholds and make hay while the sun is still shining but if u wait till 2019 it will be too late. As for UDF i dont think the party will survive this Atupele has become a political harlot who sleeps in 3 different beds in “1 nite” wearing a skimpy skirt called ” working with govenment” shameful………… makatani a China atsala ziduswaziduswa its time tigule ena…

    1. Kenkkk says:

      Mcp wake up. This is the time you should be starting to make inroads in the south. Especially in the lower shire and Yao belts. And make sure you keep watch on dpp spoilers in those areas.

  13. Xenophobia says:

    Atupele is cursed, my blood was yellow since 1993 but dyera, loyamwira kwa atati ake the party is dead. I dont surpport udf any more mwatikhumudwisa amwene. Ndi pamene ndakhulupilira kuti ngakhale ukanawina sibwenzi mukuganizira anthu akumudzi inu.

  14. pwiyapwiya says:

    DID U VOTE FOR THE YOUTHFUL LEADER URSELF??????.IF U DID NOT VOTE FOR TUPEX STOP THE NOSENSE..WHERE WERE U WHEN TUPEX WAS GETTING ZERO VOTES IN CENTRAL AND NORTHEFN REGION…Stop pretending to be stupid analyst and let his supporters say so……go ahead tupex malawians said no to u saying u r baby……..

  15. Chief Advisor says:

    The marriage between UDF and DPP is a good recipe for disaster. This gives chance to Chakwera as UDF will be divided. Probably people in DPP will also be disgranted. However the Reverend needs to make himself more visible in the East, South and North. He must build up proper structures and visit the people across the country. With good strategy he is destined to carry the day in 2019.

  16. Adzalanga says:

    Bebe wagulisa chipani UDIEFU Yateratu ngati makatani baba Mokuti bakili sakugona tulo pozindikira kuti bebe walepera kusunga chipani chake

  17. chaiwone wawo says:

    Nobody killed Atupele’s political career but himself. I thought he was a bright young man with vision and really wanted to change the way things happen in Malawi. To me personally he has been a disappointment. He could do better than this.

  18. Ambuje apali says:

    Kutha ngati makatani kkkkkk

  19. Che Rashid Very fine article the mistake we thought Atupele will be like Bakili be he once said he is his own man although a son of his father with Atupele UDF yatha ngati makatani he’s selfish he doesnt even have a friend and never smiles like Bakili,we need a new leader for our beloved UDF to gain its lost glory and get back in power the stupid oblivious bingu trick trying to be replayed it wont work.

  20. Charombanthu says:

    Atupele is finished, I agree. Welcome to the real world. This is politics…

  21. I have read both the post and the comments

  22. honourable says:

    Don’t compare wat wat with MCP, this MCP is a strongest party ever, with free and fair elections no one can win it.the party is getting stronger and stronger with these blunders like stealing of msb oh its gaining underground support so tremendously

  23. Massive says says:

    Atupele akudziwa chimene akuchita, akufuna kuti awonensense pamene pali ukulu wa dpp,

  24. asaaaa says:

    its obvious ATUPELE is done. pano sindifunaso kubva za iye. lucious ndi deal panopa and for the first time I support him

  25. bing says:

    Malawi tsapano individual anthu ale adyera

  26. Cucumbar says:

    This marks the decomposition of UDF and it shouldn’t dreaming of becoming a ruling party again

  27. yosefe gambatula says:

    Atupele has lost the plot and don’t claim that all the youth supported Atupele.Thats a lie.His thought that his father being the proprietor of the failed Udf that means Malawians will be jumping to his whims.He should forget instead he will be shelved together with his gogo friend Pitala.Lucious Banda made a bold and right decision in not following him to the vultures that are swallowing Udf gradually.Malawians cannot just be taken for granted just because somebody happens to be a youth,unprincipled and money hungry like a prostitute.

  28. Zidura Ntengo Undigwere says:

    The writer seems to focus on the personalities, rather than the country or the nation.
    So what(?) if Odinga, Tsavangirai, Chihana lost personal shine after their joining the ruling parties? The question should really be what were the outcomes, nationally? Was there more (political) piece, for example? Or was there more economic progress? That’s what really matters, isn’t it? So, in that context, the verdict regarding the young Muluzi joining the government as minister, cannot yet be written, Mr. Ntawila.
    There will be consequences, to be sure. Like probably cementing another DPP win in 2019; to the chagrin of mainly MCP, and PP (if they are still around) – the geographic overlap between UDF, PP and DPP will exert its influence, to be sure. So, may be the young Muluzi will still be influential in the government after all, post-2019.
    As regards the “Ung’ono Ung’ono” slogan; it was just an expression of sentiment. It should not have been confused with a political movement. Atupele’s time to shine as president may yet to come in future. In 2014, it was said he lacked plain life experiences, and was not yet ready personally. In spite of what some (very few people) thought.

    1. Chief says:

      You are just building castles in the air.

  29. Kenkkk says:

    Dpp has done what they wanted to do on udf, udf’s loss of credibility amongst its own eastern region people or Yaos so that they shift to dpp. But having done so, they have now turned to one eastern party that is a threat to them, that is pp if jb returns. Hence all these crazy accusations being made against jb as she is about to come home. They know if jb is around pp is going to resurrect miraculously. They want jb to remain abroad so that they can destroy leaderless pp but now that she is coming if it is true, dpp is shitting itself with fear that their plans are going to fall apart. They could easily destroy pp without jb but with jb around it is not possible.

    Eastern region is now being handed over to jb as udf is lost. Dpp’s crazy accusations against jb are actually making her more popular, you are campaigning for her you dpp thugs. You see how God sometimes works!!!

  30. MCP and PP,you must just from allaince to fight this cemented allaince bweteen DPP and UDF. It has come to our notice those who supported fedelism should think twice, or make hey while it is still shining.It this case DPP and UDF are ready fight agaist MCP and PP to win with a landslide victory in 2019 election.So don’t blame Atupele Muluzi,he is sailing in the right boat that will take him to his destination.

  31. chejali says:

    Kkkkkkkkkkkkkk mcp 2019 bomaaaaaaa ilooooooooo udf mbuzi zose dyela midyomba iyiiiiiii

  32. katebe katoto says:

    The beginning of the end…

  33. nadhaf says:

    He wasnt far but was cheated

  34. akilen says:

    ndale za pa nyasa ndi zovu zedi

  35. baby says:

    It is obvious DPP will win with a landslide in 2019 no doubt about that. DPP has penetrated in eastern region now. In case you do not know, lomwes and yaos are cousins.

  36. ujeni says:

    This is the end of the Muluzi family party. The whole Eastern region will be taken over by PP.

  37. nyayo says:

    From the previous elections, it came clear that Atupele has few supporters. What baffles me now is the way the writer rates Muluzi. Let me remind the writer that his theories do not apply to Atupele because according to statistics he was too remote to the throne. I further disagree with the fallacy that Atupele was the hope for the youth because even the youth did not support him. To me it’s better to do something for the people instead of being a strong man on the paper. The truth is that people are worried because unity between UDF and DPP creates little chances for MCP to come back.

  38. Tili Chenene says:

    I agree with you. Atupele, the politician, is finished. UDF is being hammered unexpectedly.

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